Israel itinerary and visiting Egypt
Replies: 25 - Last Post: Nov 12, 2012 8:33 AM Last Post By: catw
Oct 24, 2012 8:24 AM
The most obvious, but possibly also most boring option would be to just chill out in Eilat for two more days and then head back to Tel Aviv, where we will be meeting up at the end of the week anyway, for the last few days. Since we will only be in Tel Aviv for two and a half days, which we will probably spend mostly just experiencing the vibrant city itself, what else is there to do in/around Tel Aviv? Or I could stop by in Jerusalem on my way from Eilat to Tel Aviv, would this be worth it for just one or two days?
The other idea I had was to visit Egypt while I'm in Eilat, after all it's right around the corner. Is it easy/cheap to get to Cairo and back via bus from Eilat? How about the border crossing and possible visa issues (I'm from Germany)?
Oct 24, 2012 8:44 AM
1Your post begs the most obvious question; why with all that time are you spending so much of it in Tel Aviv and why are you approaching Jerusalem as an afterthought? There may be a very good reason, but Jerusalem is one of the world's most unique, fascinating cities and Tel Aviv, well there's simply not that much special about TA (unless your number 1 & 2 goals are to party all night and hit the beaches).
Now to get to your specific questions. Personally, I'd rather sit through a two day root canal than spend it all in Eilat. Of course, that's just my opinion.
Cairo can be reached from Eilat relatively easily, but not that quickly. First you cross the border to Taba (you'll have to arrange for an all Egypt visa in advance as they do not issue them at the border) and then take either a shared taxi or bus to Cairo. It will take the better part of a day to get there and the same going back. That doesn't leave you a lot of time to explore Cairo. If you were an experienced traveler you could do it more quickly, but since you've not made that trip before you have to factor in the extra time it takes just figuring stuff out.
If it were me and I had three or four extra days in that area, I'd go to Petra and Wadi Rum. You didn't mention that as an option so maybe you've already been, or just didn't realize it was an option. You can get a Jordanian visa at the border so that part is easy.
Oct 24, 2012 9:16 AM
2" I'd rather sit through a two day root canal than spend it all in Eilat"
That's really funny. Eilat has no interest but personally,I hate root canals. I would spend the two days drinking beer at Eilat's Mac Donald's.
As for our fellow traveller's question... Jerusalem is well worth two days, unless you're allergic to religious people. It's a very beautiful, atmospheric city. You can also visit Ramallah, Bethleem or Hebron if you fancy visiting the Palestinian territory. Ramallah's nightlife is commendable.
Spending time in Eilat... I would say no. Do like cool Israelis, cross the border to Egypt's Taba and catch a cab to Dahab, the funkiest place in Egypt for getting lazy on the beach or doing some dives.
Oct 24, 2012 1:14 PM
3Three nights in Arad? What on earth would anyone do in Arad for three days? Sure, people live there, but it's hardly an interesting destination. And then Jerusalem as a "maybe stop by"? Most people will tell you that Jerusalem deserves three days minimum. Of course, if all you have is two days, that doesn't mean you should skip it, as even two days is better than nothing.
If by chance you are planning on going from Arad to Masada and then to the Dead Sea, note that there is no road through Masada. The road from Arad to Masada doesn't link up with the road that goes along the Dead Sea shore.
And since bus from Eilat to Cairo takes a full day each way, not including any time you want to spend in Cairo, it's not exactly "right around the corner".
Edited by: Shuffaluff to say I've now read your other thread, about hoping to get from Arad to Masada. I think you'll find that the three days in Arad is a big mistake.
Oct 24, 2012 3:39 PM
4Thanks for the helpful, if somewhat condescending, advice... I just did a 4-month backpacking trip around Southeast Asia last year, so I'm not exactly a "tourist". The first week of our trip was planned by my girlfriend who's lived in Tel Aviv for over a year and just loves the city. We want to use the 3 days in Arad as a base for trips to Masada, Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea and also just for some romantic relaxing time.
I know practically nothing about Israel and haven't really gotten around to informing myself properly yet, so it's good to know that Jerusalem is considered such an essential and fascinating city. It should serve as the perfect cultural and historic counterpoint to all the going and chilling out we will be doing in Tel Aviv and Eilat. Since I do actually dive, I will probably split my time 2 more days in Eilat, 4 in Jerusalem and one last day in Tel Aviv, but that is just the rough idea so far. Could you give me a better idea of what makes Jerusalem such a fascinating city and what to see and do there?
I would have loved to see the Pyramids while I'm "in the area" and with a week to spare, that's still 3-4 full days I could spend in Cairo. On the other hand, I think that it might be a bad idea to spread myself too thin and that I should experience Israel more fully instead of running off to another country. There may be another time to visit Egypt and Jordan...
Oct 24, 2012 6:54 PM
5Arad makes a poor base for the Dead Sea, Ein Gedi and Masada. Both EIn Gedi and Masada sit on the shores of the Dead Sea, so it makes sense to stay in a hostel or what ever along the Dead Sea. Masada and Ein Gedi are within easy reach of each other. Arad, does not had a good bus connection. I may be wrong since it has been years since I lived in the Negev.
Um.. Jerusalem is the vey heart and soul of Israel. There is nothing like it, Seeing Israel without seeing Jerusalem is lie seeing Cambodia dn ignoring Angkor Wat. Why in the heck would you come to Israel and ignore it Don't get me wrong, TA is a fun city. If you are into Bauhaus, its a treasure trove of architecture. But it si use a city where as Jerusalem is an experience lie none other. Why is it fascinating. Hmm 3 ancient religions considering Jerusalem might have something to do with it.
Eilat in one word, sucks.Diving is much better further south in Dahab or Ras Mohammed. But that is one heck of a trek from TA.
Getting to Cairo is far easier from TA and please be sure to gets visa for Egypt first
Oct 24, 2012 10:00 PM
6I agree with the others.
Arad is a poor choice for your base for touring the Judean Desert, Masada and Dead Sea region. You're much better off basing yourself at Ein Gedi or the Masada Youth Hostel/Guesthouse, but don't wait until you arrive to make reservations or you're likely to be disappointed.
Jerusalem is, indeed, one of the most fascinating cities on earth. It would be an outright tragedy not to include at least three days there. While in Jerusalem, besides the Old City itself, I suggest exploring the archaeological excavations (with a guide) at the City of David. And in the New City of Jerusalem, plan on spending an entire morning at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial - a must for all of humanity IMHO.
Oct 24, 2012 11:17 PM
7My biased opinion on what is the minimum for Jerusalem (3 days):
(1) Old City - 1-2 days. The list is almost endless as to what to see here.
(2) Yad Vashem (Holocaust Museum) - 0.5 day, including English tour. The entrance to Yad Vashem is free, the (optional) organized tour isn't.
(3) Israel Museum - I think the minimum is the better part of a whole day. However, you may find it too much for one day, and decide to spend only half a day there on your first visit. If you can absorb it all in one shot, you can easily spend a whole day at this excellent museum.
(4) The Mahane Yehuda market - one or two hours.
Bethlehem is about 0.5 day trip from Jerusalem, if that interests you.
Oct 25, 2012 3:43 AM
Oct 25, 2012 3:53 AM
9I totally understand why you'd want to spend several days in TLV. A city's "worth" is not only measured by the amount of tourist attractions per se. I know many travelers who have found TLV the place they enjoyed most on their visit to Israel. That said, I totally agree 2-3 days in Jerusalem is a good idea.
Eilat- my favorite dive sites: HaSatil (20-30m. sunken navy missile boat), Japanese Gardens (10-30m. closed part of the reserve, only guided dives through one of the clubs), Joshua/Moses Rock (5-15m, shallow dive in the coral reserve).
Arad- not having a car will make this a less than perfect base for exploring the area but there are some great hikes in the area. Let me know if you want more specific info.
You've not mentioned the north of Israel at all: Haifa, Acco, Mt. Carmel, Galilee, Sea of Galilee, Golan Heights, religious sights, archaeology, hiking, horse riding, etc (all depending on when you visit and what you want to see).
Oct 25, 2012 4:25 AM
10If you want to dive, cross into Egypt and go to Dahab. Don't waste your time in Eilat, it's boring, expensive and the reef has been damaged.
Worth noting that Jerusalem is the heart and soul of both Israel and the Palestinian territory. You will quickly discover that while West Jerusalem is Israeli, East Jerusalem is Palestinian. The city has a foot in both worlds, with each side having its own language and its own culture. That's one of the reasons why the place is so fascinating: you can change country just by crossing a street.
The only place where both worlds merge is the Old City, which has been divived into several quarters depending on religion for centuries: Jews, Christians, Muslims, Armenians. There's even a tiny African quarter where you will find the descendants of Subsaharan pilgrims and merchants who decided to stay in Jerusalem.
Oct 25, 2012 5:13 AM
11The divide between in Jerusalem and West Jeruslam only existed betwen 1948 adn 1967. Prior to 1948, Jerusalem was a united city
Oct 25, 2012 5:23 AM
Oct 25, 2012 5:33 AM
Oct 25, 2012 5:45 AM
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